Edward Finch

About My Art

Releasing havoc 

Watercolour is about releasing havoc. It demands abandoning control.  The results are not always envisaged, but are almost always unexpected. 

Edward Finch finds the medium tells his story. It gives a voice to his feelings that words so often fail to do. His work frequently depicts a townscape in Kent (town of Maidstone), or the lawny setting of Mote Park – the lungs of the town set in 450 acres of parkland. 

But his work tries to adhere to an authentic style, avoiding the platitudes of bucolic painting. 

Losing control 

Have you ever tried that exercise of painting with your non-dominant hand? It’s supposed to overcome the controlling habits of the left brain and release the spontaneity of the right hand. Well illness in the form of multiple sclerosis has given the artist two non-dominant hands that defy any attempt at control. All his paintings yield ‘happy accidents’, giving him new insights into his condition. 

He feels reassured by the words of the American artist Selma Blackburn who remarked: 

“In watercolor, if you are not in trouble, then you’re in trouble.” 

 

Paperchase 

History has an uncanny habit of catching up with you. The kind of living history that JMW Turner, John Robert Cozens, John Sell Cotman and Cornelius Varley embraced. Many of the masterpieces of Romantic watercolor painting of the early 19th century are on paper bearing the watermark “J.Whatman”. This paper was not just a brand, it was a new form of paper known as wove paper (or Vélin), an innovation used for high-quality art and printing even today. 

What is important to the artist is that ‘Whatman’ style paper is still in production today, using the same time-honoured recipe. Millford watercolour paper from St Augustine’s Mill with its high resistance to water creates unique washes that perform differently to traditional watercolour papers. Its very forgiving for slow thinkers, but keep the hairdryer away if you want to accelerate the drying process: that would be sacrilege! All of the artist’s paintings make use of the unique drying properties of ‘Whatman’ style paper. 

Serendipity 

Would you believe it! Whatman’s (1702–1759) mill  (Turkey Mill in Maidstone, Kent) where he developed wove paper is located just a stone’s throw away from the artist’s residence. In fact he can almost hear the trickle of the brook. His modern paintings salute the versatility of this historic watercolour paper. 

 Fifty Shades of Grey 

The interplay between light and shade is an ongoing fascination for the artist, catching a fleeting moment of passing light. Pigments of burnt umber and aquamarine blue when mixed provide the many shades of grey used in his paintings, stretching from the warmest to the coolest, the darkest to the most incandescent. Crimson barely gets a look in!